Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few weeks, you probably heard about the recent Facebook Congressional hearings. Over two days, Congress questioned Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, about how Facebook collects their data and the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal. But what you may not realize is there are some valuable marketing lessons to be learned from these recent proceedings.
Here are the 3 biggest things the Facebook hearing can teach us about B2B inbound marketing.
Lesson #1: Transparency is key to building brand loyalty.
In 2014, Cambridge Analytica acquired data from over 80 million Facebook profiles. The data was collected through a personality quiz app called thisisyourdigitallife. While only about 270,000 people actually used the app, the app’s settings allowed Cambridge Analytica to access their friends’ data, impacting millions more.
Rather than coming clean immediately, Facebook waited more than two years to notify users that their data had been compromised. They also waited over two years to suspend Cambridge Analytica from their platform. What this amounts to is a massive breach of Facebook users’ trust. Will Facebook lose most of its users in the wake of this scandal? Probably not. We all love our cat videos too much to abandon the platform altogether. But this breach has damaged their reputation and called attention to their data collection techniques.
The moral of the story is that people value transparency. They want to work with a business that is honest. Who would trust a business that is secretive and never discloses critical information? Transparency goes a long way in your B2B inbound marketing. A study from Label Insight found that 81% of respondents will try a brand’s entire portfolio if they are transparent. That’s why it’s so important to be open and upfront when talking to your audience.
Be honest when creating any marketing materials—whether it’s an email, eBook or even a Tweet. Explain any complex technology in simple terms. Walk them through how your products or services work, without marketing or technical jargon, and let them know if your solutions will meet their needs. Setting clear expectations will help you earn their trust and and grow a more successful business.
Lesson #2: Never lose sight of your audience.
No one can deny that Facebook is a social media titan. The platform has exploded since its creation, with over 2 billion monthly active users as of the fourth quarter of 2017. However, at some point in their climb to the top, Facebook lost sight of what matters most: their users.
For over a decade, Facebook users have been flooding the platform with their personal information. But they never really understood what they were giving up in exchange for using the platform. Not to mention, Facebook has done very little to ensure that their users know how their data is being used. They bury their data sharing methods in a lengthy terms of service agreement that almost no one reads (I know I didn’t read it). Mark Zuckerburg even admitted that he didn’t know how many people actually read the entire terms of service.
The key takeaway is that every company should put their customers’ needs first. People want to work with a company that cares about more than just making money. That’s why your target audience should be at the center of all your B2B inbound marketing. Focus on producing content that addresses their pain points and offers solutions to their problems. When your prospects see you genuinely care about their needs, they will be drawn to your brand.
Lesson #3: Data is a precious commodity.
If there’s one lesson you take away from the Facebook hearings, I want it to be this: Data is a valuable resource. Data is the holy grail of inbound and digital marketing. The more data you collect, the more targeted your marketing can be. In fact, most of B2B inbound marketing hinges on prospects exchanging their data for your content.
That being said, data isn’t something you should take lightly. When prospects complete a form on a landing page, they’re trusting you with their personal information. Abusing that trust will only damage your brand integrity and stifle growth.
Use marketing data wisely. When planning inbound marketing campaigns, it’s best to focus on quality over quantity. Sending high-quality emails will help you cultivate an audience that’s loyal to your brand. It’s also a good idea to segment your email lists by industry, product or service to ensure you’re sending only the most relevant emails to your contacts.
Hopefully, these insights help you enhance your inbound marketing and gain the trust of your audience. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we have a team of experts that knows what it takes to succeed with B2B inbound marketing. Contact us today to learn how we can help you reach your marketing goals!
Courtney Feairheller is a Digital Content Specialist at Schubert b2b. She graduated from Lafayette College with a B.A. in English. When she's not working, you can find her re-reading Harry Potter or taking way too many photos of her 4 cats and 3 dogs.